‘West Side Story’ Star Ariana DeBose Reached Out to CEO Bob Chapek, Says ‘We’re Gonna Do the Work’ Regarding ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill

Ariana DeBose, who just won her Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for last year’s musical epic “West Side Story”, says she has spoken to The Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Chapek regarding the Parental Rights in Education bill, commonly referred to by critics as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.

The actress became the first queer woman of color to win an Academy Award Sunday night.

When speaking to Variety at the awards ceremony, she said regarding the bill “Bob and I, we’re gonna do the work. I’ve spoken to him. I’m a very hands-on type of person. And when I see something, I say something. And while I may not always put it on the internet, I do that. I reached out. And I will continue to reach out and Bob knows that.”

When Variety followed up with a question about queer representation at the Oscars, she said with a smile “We’re here. We’re queer. And we’ve been here.”

“West Side Story” was nominated for seven Academy Awards this year, including Best Picture. DeBose’s Oscar was the only one awarded to the film.

The Walt Disney Company came under fire after it was discovered they donated to all sponsors of the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. Disney released a lackluster statement and Chapek later emailed all Disney employees regarding the bill, but did not denounce it. This backfired significantly, prompting statements from various creators and employees of Disney against the company and eventually a full reversal and apology from Chapek regarding his bungling of the situation. Disney Parks issued a brief statement earlier today in support of LGBTQIA+ communities and against the controversial bill which passed in the Florida Legislature this month.

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